Toilet Training Refusal

Avoid the Battle and Win the War
  • Barton D. Schmitt
Part of the Critical Issues in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics book series (CIDB)


Children who refuse to be toilet trained have three options. They can wet themselves, soil themselves, or try to hold back their bowel movements, thus becoming constipated or impacted. Although wetters are more common, soilers are most often brought to a physician because of the offensiveness of their habit. Closer observation reveals that these children have excellent control when they want to. They can postpone bowel movements until no one is watching. They can wet themselves deliberately when the parent is on the telephone or nursing a younger sibling. Boys outnumber girls in this type of behavior. Many of these children refuse to sit on the toilet or sit there only if the parent brings up the subject and marches them into the bathroom. Occasionally, those who hold back bowel movements develop acute urine retention caused by pressure on the bladder from an impaction.


Bowel Movement Acute Urine Retention Physical Punishment Power Struggle Toilet Training 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barton D. Schmitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsThe University of Colorado School of Medicine, The Children’s HospitalDenverUSA

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